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How The Future Works – The Arrogance!

In fairness, the full title was

How The Future Works:
Why your ultimate job is to be HUMAN.

Well yes. Couldn't agree more ... but that opening line - that suggests that it is all pre destined. This ... is how .... it is ... going to work ... Surely the Future hasn't yet been decided?

We have heard all this before. The robots are going to take away the meaningless jobs, the repetitive jobs, the boring jobs and we are going to be free to pursue our happiness ...

And Yet?

I took part in a small MeetUP yesterday. A nice friendly group that I seem to have latched onto and they haven't objected so far .. ?.

At the beginning of the session, a video was played. This video.

After watching Gerd wax lyrical over what we can do to manage 'VUCA' - that is that the world is increasingly; Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous .. but don’t worry, we can combat that with our own VUCA ... with our Velocity, Unorthodoxy, Creativity and 'Awesomeness'.

I'll put aside why a better word than 'awesomeness' couldn’t be found and just go with the flow.

The discussion then set out to explore whether we agreed or disagreed with the premise - and what would we add. To summarize what I heard, I think the answer is that the world is 49.9999% Optimists and 49.9999% Pessimists ... and then there are the rest of us.

I didn’t discern anything specific about why someone fell one way or the other on the optimist/pessimist scale ... although definitely some of us on the 'older side' had a certain cynicism.

I made a few notes on what I saw which I talked through with the group - and for posterity reveal them here.

  1. We on this call are a particular slice of humanity - I'd love to hear what construction workers, shop keepers, and janitors think about this video.
  2. There is a corporate narrative - that has always been about 'managing people' and setting their expectations to the benefit of corporations. This is one such corporate narrative/
  3. There is no future of work - only a future of income/
  4. Whose technology is he talking about? Where is my personal 'edge' AI?
  5. Who is in control? Who's AI? Where is the data?
  6. Tech companies are only now just realizing the need for ethicists ... and even then to ethics - what about them?
  7. He talked of STEM - I talk of STEAM - Arts / Liberal Arts - lose that to STEM and we WILL be lost
  8. Work-Life Balance will never work. I talk of Pay, Purpose, Passion and Play.
  9. Life long learning - people have been doing that forever. The key is to 'Learn to learn'.
  10. Our Education system has primarily been for to train people - not Educate. Training people does nothing to open their eyes to possibilities.
  11. Our education is actually training to be a cog in the machine
  12. There are close to 8 billion people on this planet. I look forward to them all rising up and following their purpose ... but first - how about clothing them. Feeding them. Allowing them access to good healthcare. We don’t really need AI and Robotics to do that now. Why will it change?

My conclusion : All of this is moot, if we don’t do something about the world we live in. If we don’t change our education systems to educate, not train people. While we allow our Governments to drives lower income people into the ground. Our humanity, where we think it is all right for millions of people to be starving and dying from heat. Where our Trust in Government is so low that we can barely be bothered to vote. Where Corporations have been taken to such new lows that it is ok to treat people as cogs in their machine. I could go on - but readers of this blog and associated Newsletter know they don’t want that!

Bottom line - all this talk of AI, Bots, Data and the 'technical future; solves the wrong problem really well. Because ....

What I would like to happen with this post is to document what we talked about. So I am going to stop here and publish and then share it with the group and see if I can get some of the others to weigh in on their thoughts. I was but one voice and I wouldn’t want to bias the conclusions. So ... here goes nothing ... the comments are open.